Last modified on April 9, 2019, at 11:47

Erez Ben-Yosef

Erez Ben-Yosef[1] is a prominent archaeologist, geologist, and anthropologist, most well known for being the director of excavations in the Timna Valley, a copper-rich site in southern Israel.


Ben-Yosef first studied archaeology and geology in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he earned his B.A. in 2003, B.Sc. in 2004, and M.Sc. in 2006. He went on to study archaeology and anthropology in the University of California, where he earned his M.A. in 2008 and Ph.D. in 2010. Between 2010-2011, Ben-Yosef pursued postdoctoral studies in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

In 2011, Ben-Yosef began teaching at the department of archaeology and the graduate program in archaeology and archaeomaterials in Tel Aviv University, and from 2014 until the present, Erez Ben-Yosef became a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, Department of Archaeology and ANE Cultures at Tel Aviv University. Some of his research projects include the Cyprus Archaeomagnetic Project, Edom Lowland Regional Archaeology Project, and the Central Timna Valley Project, which is funded by Yad Hanadiv Foundation's Yizhar Hirschfeld Memorial Fellowship in Archaeology and the Marie Curie PEOPLE grant.

Timna Valley Excavations

From 2013–present, Ben-Yosef has been directing excavations in the Central Timna Valley Project.

Excavations in this site first received major attention in 2016, when foreign fabrics were found in the Timna Valley, dating to the time of Solomon.[2][3] Solomon and David were generally thought by scholars to have never ruled over a kingdom, however these findings challenged that notion. The foreign fabrics found dating to the time of Solomon revealed that, at the time, Israel have had complex trading network systems. Vanessa Workman states "We found linen, which was not produced locally. It was most likely from the Jordan Valley or Northern Israel. The majority of the fabrics were made of sheep’s wool, a cloth that is seldom found in this ancient period… This tells us how developed and sophisticated both their textile craft and trade networks must have been."[4]

In 2017, Ben-Yosef published a paper titled Beyond smelting: New insights on Iron Age (10th c. BCE) metalworkers community from excavations at a gatehouse and associated livestock pens in Timna, Israel in the Journal of Archaeological Science,[5] which also received much attention.[6][7][8] The Timna Valley is a copper-rich site, where seemingly an industrial level of copper production was being produced there. In the site, Ben-Yosef's team found animal manure of seemingly recent origin. Ben-Yosef said "We thought maybe some nomads had camped there with their goats a few decades ago," but further research completely changed this video. Ben-Yosef went on to say "the [radiocarbon] dates came back from the lab, and they confirmed we were talking about donkeys and other livestock from the 10th century B.C. It was hard to believe." The 10th century BC dating of these animal remains dated the copper-production site at the Timna Valley to the reign of King Solomon. These results revealed that the biblical monarch Solomon had a major source of copper production, and therefore wealth, as the biblical narrative states. These results were shocking because most scholars until this time, most notably Israel Finkelstein had entirely dismissed the historicity of the influence and power of David and Solomon's kingdom,[9] and especially thought that the wealth ascribed to Solomon in the biblical narrative was an enormous exaggeration. Finkelstein was followed by most scholars of his time. These findings, therefore, established a major historical narrative of David and Solomon, that they had a powerful empire in their time and that the wealth of Solomon was truly enormous.


  1. Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef
  2. Where Solomon mined, 3,000-year-old ‘fashion collection’ unearthed
  3. Fabrics Found at Ancient Mines in Timna Valley
  4. See citation 2.
  5. Ben-Yosef, Erez, Dafna Langgut, and Lidar Sapir-Hen. "Beyond smelting: New insights on Iron Age (10th c. BCE) metalworkers community from excavations at a gatehouse and associated livestock pens in Timna, Israel." Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 11 (2017): 411-426.
  6. Found: Fresh Clues to Mystery of King Solomon's Mines
  7. Ancient Manure is Latest Clue in Biblical Mystery
  8. Will the Story King Solomon be Validated by Animal Droppings?
  9. Finkelstein, Israel, and Neil Asher Silberman. The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Isreal and the Origin of Sacred Texts. Simon and Schuster, 2002.